Last Updated on April 13, 2017 by Marie Bautista
When I was growing up, I looked with wide eyes, with a mixture of fear and pity on the blind beggars on the street. My boy classmates made fun of a lame man and walked behind him imitating him.
|A photo by digitalart via freedigitalphotos.net|
fundraising dinner for a school that serves children with learning
disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would
never be forgotten by all present. After
extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question:
interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does, is done with
Shay, cannot learn things as other children do.
He cannot understand things as other children do.
natural order of things in my son?”
natural order of things in my son?”
was stilled by the query.
continued. “I believe that when a child
like Shay, who was mentally and physically disabled comes into the world, an
opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the
way other people treat that child.”
the following story:
walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball.
you think they’ll let me play?”
most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but as a
father I also understood that if my
son were allowed to play, it would give him a much needed sense of belonging
and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.
one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play.
around for guidance and said, “We’re losing by six runs and the game is in the
eight inning. I guess he can be on our
team and we’ll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.”
over to the team’s bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt…
a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart.
The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted.
of the eighth inning, Shay’s team scored a few runs but was still behind by
the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was
obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear
to ear as I waved to him from the stands.
of the ninth inning, Shay’s team scored again.
Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was
on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.
juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game?
Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew
that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn’t even know how to hold the
bat properly, much less connect with the ball.
Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was
putting winning aside for this moment in Shay’s life, moved in a few steps to
lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact.
came and Shay swung clumsily and missed.
again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay.
came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the
now be over!
up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first
been out and that would have been the end of the game.
pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman’s head, out of reach of all
the stands and both teams started yelling.
first! Run to first!”
life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base.
down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.
run to second.”
breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it
to the base.
Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball. The smallest guy on their team who now had
his first chance to be the hero for his team.
thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he also understood the
pitcher’s intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over
the third-baseman’s head.
third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward
screaming, “Shay, Shay, Shay! All the
third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the
direction of third base, and shouted, “Run to third! Shay, run to third!”
third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet
screaming, “Shay, run home! Run home!”
home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam
and won the game for his team.
day,” said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, “The boys
from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world.
didn’t make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten
being the hero and making me so happy, and coming home and seeing his mother
tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!”